When I walked into bus no. 18 on my way to work today, I was a bit startled. The driver was yelling something and I unconsciously fought an urge to say "wasn't me!!". After some abstract filtering, I realised that this jolly guy was actually saying HI, HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?! in an obnoxiously loud voice with a goofy grin! After an "err..fine thanks and yourself?" I settled down in my seat and observed this cheerful driver greet every single person who entered the bus in the same way! It was fun seeing them go through the same, Startle-err - who?-me?-oh-hi, to you too jig!!
Watching this exceptionally loud driver reminded me of a bus journey I had made a few years ago with my dad from a small town in Tamil Nadu called Gingee to an obscure little village. It was a shiny new bus; and when I say shiny, I MEAN IT! Multiple mirrors, glossy Rajinikanth standing near glossier autos, oh sheesh! The works! My eyes began hurting after a while! All was well, well, almost well, because this driver was so DAMN loud that along with my eyes- my ears were hurting too. Apart from obscenities aimed at fellow drivers and supposedly funny remarks meant for the audience (thats us, the passengers) he was humming the slickiest, sauciest, s@*&$~#iest songs composed in tamil film history!!
I knew it was coming - the irritation. I tried, I seriously did, to stop feeling that absolute rage which stems from some unknown eternal pit in the tummy(I was young and restless then!). And then as if he could read my mind, he went quiet. Dead quiet. The bus just ricketed down the typical kaccha roads we have studied about in geography. As the irritation slowly ebbed out, I actually found myself relaxing and enjoying the green rural scenery.
I should have known that this was just the 'calm before the storm'.
The damn driver didnt even give a warning so I could mentally prepare myself for it. A swish and a click. And in a voice as loud as his (accompanied by the driver's) the tape player bellowed" NA READYYYY, NEENGA READY AA??" OH MY GOD!! I was so absolutely shaken and shocked! You know what the best part was? The driver played that song over and over and over again till we reached our destination.
I was too exhausted to fight back. I just slumped in my seat and allowed that damn song, reveberating through the damn speakers, to smother the left life out of me. Come to think of it, the entire bus was a bit zombied off after that! Sheesh!
Oh India, India!
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